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The Best Approach to SEO & PPC

General Outline of SEO Approach

Rather than a cookie cutter formula to SEO, we offer a hands-on, individualized, custom approach when moving forward with a SEO campaign.   Each month we look at what the client’s website needs most and focus on those areas that will have the greatest positive effects. That said, almost all clients need the same type of help during the first 1-2 months, namely an overhaul of the HTML code. Next we focus on link building and content development which includes a myriad of different sub-strategies that we may engage in depending on the website.

We should note that for your industry there are a few obstacles to overcome when it comes to SEO.  The first is that your product is fairly new and many people may not know it exists or is an option for them.  Because of this they will not be searching for it directly.  We will need to adapt our strategy to gain online market share by focusing on indirect keyword phrases. We do this by figuring out what keywords your target market is searching for, and then optimizing for and targeting those keywords. We are essentially saying “Hey, if you’re interested in such and such,  then you may be interested in what we’ve got to offer.” For example we may target ‘hearing devices, hearing aids, deaf resources, improve your hearing’ etc.  The second obstacle is that we will not be able to target the SEO campaign by geographic areas.  Most of your demographic will not be including the geographic location in their keywords, i.e. instead of searching for ‘laguna wood’ hearing aid’ they will simply search for ‘hearing aid’ thus it will be difficult for us to target your campaign within specific areas.  The good news is we can launch a national SEO campaign and gain traction throughout the entire U.S.

Three Main Components of SEO

1.  SEO Friendly HTML

The html of your website is very important for search engines.  Editing HTML is the ‘easiest’ of the three components to take care of, takes the least amount of time, and is the only SEO component for which it is easy to measure when it is complete.  The key focus on the HTML is to make sure it is SEO-friendly; but what does that mean?  More often than not it means fixing HTML items that are actually hurting your SEO strategy rather than helping.  The most common issues we see are too much javascript, a flash-only site, weak title tags and meta descriptions, use of graphical text in headers rather than HTML text, poor setup of navigation elements, empty alt-tags, very slow load time (large graphics are usually the culprit), and more.  Since we will be developing your website we will engage in SEO services from the beginning stages of your development to ensure the site is SEO-friendly.

2.  Content for Search Engines AND Visitors

After you have your website up and going the next step is to ensure you have enough useful content on your website.  You should note the emphasis on ‘enough’ and ‘useful’.  If you only have a three page website with a few paragraphs yet you offer hundreds of different products or services how would you expect the search engines to really understand what your website is about?  Once we have identified the core content your target audience is seeking we will make sure it is put up on your website.  After that stage the door opens up to endless possibilities of methods you can produce relevant and useful information for your current and future website visitors.  Some simple ideas are adding a blog to your website, adding a press release or news section, setting up a FAQ, having a client testimonials page, have a photo gallery with a description of each photo, post reviews of other products or services that are relevant to your older demographics, setup a monthly industry newsletter, and more.  Content development should never end unless you start to get thousands upon thousands of pages which most websites do not achieve easily.

3.  Link Building

Link building is probably the most critical and overlooked strategy of SEO.  It is also the most difficult and avoided because of its difficulty to achieve.  You have total control over your HTML and copy on your website.  You can update your website and add content as much as you wish.  However this is not the case with incoming links to your website.  You have no control over who links to you and how they link to you; unless you happen to own other websites.  There are many different strategies to gain links to your website and the most successful is link baiting; but also the most difficult to attain.  Link baiting is creating something so noteworthy, sought after, or impressive that other people link to it from their websites or blogs naturally – without you usually knowing it.  Other methods of link building include directory submissions, viral video distribution, commenting on blogs, forming partnerships, social media bookmarking, etc.  This is the most difficult stage of SEO and never seems to end–we have not found a website yet that has ‘too’ many links.

SEO Portfolio

1. Assisted Living Center

This client is owned by an organization that manages nearly 50 assisted living centers across the United States.  They engaged MWI for SEO services and saw a dramatic increase in the amount of leads they received from online.  During the past year they have received more online leads from their website than all other lead sources combined.  They have a similar target demographic as the Caption Call product.  We are familiar to marketing to older demographics, their caregivers, and their medical support personnel.

2. Self Storage Company

This company manages over 130 self storage facilities in the United States.  Over 65% of all their online reservations come directly from search engine optimization.  Because of their success they have recently decided to phase out their entire yellow page advertising budget and put it towards online marketing strategies.    They are starting a PPC campaign to supplement their online marketing activities.

3. Adoption Agency

This non-profit client has been was spending their entire budget in yellow page advertising with minimal results.  When they decided to cancel their ads and only spend a fraction of the amount they were with online marketing they were only receiving 5-10 leads per week from their website and yellow page ads.  Today they usually receive more than 200 leads per week from potential adoptive parents and birth mothers.  There are many online marketing strategies that were integrated into achieve these results including SEO, social media marketing, conversion improvement, message forum postings, google maps optimization, and development  of a custom website which now ranks on the second page for an extremely competitive keyword ‘adoption’ in Google and #1 for ‘adoption agencies’.

4.  Kitchenware Online Store

This client has engaged in online marketing services for a few years as well.  When they first engaged in services their revenue was minimal.  Due to online marketing activities their revenue has grown 2,000% in just over a year to a multi-million dollar company.  Marketing activities that helped them achieve their goals are SEO, PPC, comparison shopping feeds, Amazon account management, blogging, affiliate program, and more.

5. Landscaping Firm

When this client came to us they were about to go out of business.  All of their competitors were suffering from the economy and were dropping like flies left and right.  They decided to take a risk and divert their entire marketing budget to online marketing.  Over the last year they have a steady flow of leads that have kept them busy throughout the year.  Accomplishing this took a variety of strategies including SEO, PPC, social media marketing, classified ads postings, and website re-architecture work.  Their revenue is not as high as it was in the construction boom era but they are very grateful they took the risk to try online marketing and are able to stay in business while having some profit as well when most of their competition is not as lucky.

6. Summary

As you can see from this list these clients have very different needs, goals, and objectives.  What works for one will not work for the others, although SEO and PPC are generally strategies that can work well in any industry.  For example key strategies for success with online retailers are comparison shopping engines and amazon integration.  For the adoption website developing a comprehensive 3rd party adoption directory was a key to their success.  The landscaping firm found great results through classified postings.  Google Map listings were critical to the self storage company.  We pride ourselves in being able to adapt strategies on an on-going basis to deliver the most comprehensive online marketing strategy that will work for you.  We can have the flexibility to re-allocate resources and budgets to other strategies temporarily as needed.

Pay Per Click / Search Engine Marketing

General Outline of PPC Approach

PPC campaigns will deliver results much faster than the SEO campaign but will be more expensive due to the 3rd party fees that go directly to Google, Yahoo, and Bing.   We will begin with keyword research, setup the PPC accounts, add compelling ads, then actively monitor and optimize the accounts to achieve better performance.

One great advantage of a PPC campaign for Caption Call vs. a SEO campaign is that we will be able to target campaigns in specific geographic areas.  PPC campaigns can be setup to only display ads for keywords triggered by people living within a certain area we specify based on their computer’s ip address.  This will allow us to setup campaigns only in your target areas initially to assess results.

Three Main Components of PPC

1. Research

Keyword research generally begins by using Google’s Keyword Tool to evaluate the existing site as well as to get recommended related keywords.  Those keywords are then further evaluated through 3rd party utilities/software to identify competition & marketability.   Further research is done by examining competitor keywords (if applicable).  Negative keywords are also added to ensure highly relevant traffic.

2.  Setup

Initial search marketing campaigns are set up on the search network only with specific geo-targeting  specified.  Adgroups are set up based on keyword research and tightly organized keyword themes.  If display network advertising is desired a separate campaign is setup to target the display network with geo-targeting set and keywords again organized into tightly relevant themes.

Ads are created to incorporate keywords and direct traffic to the most relevant landing page in an effort to achieve highest quality score possible.

3.  Management

Campaigns are optimized on a regular basis to identifying additional negative keywords, new keyword opportunities, eliminate underperforming keywords, and A/B testing of ads.  New ads are written to replace the worst performing ad so the highest performing ad is always in rotation.  Bids are managed to ensure 1st page exposure and eventually to identify optimal position of KW to achieve top ROI.

PPC Platform Note

We have the ability to run ads on Google, Yahoo, and Bing via Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcenter accounts.

Tracking & Reporting

Knowing what web metrics to monitor can be a daunting task sometimes.  There are some basic ones we should keep track of while you have SEO, PPC, or other online marketing strategies running.

1. Conversions

We will track the conversion ratio of people filling out your online request or completing a primary objective or goal.  Although this excludes people viewing your contact page and calling you on the phone it does narrow down to a specific demographic of people taking a definitive action to learn more about your products or services. It  captures those people requesting more information.

2. Visitors

This metric is fairly obvious as to why it is important – to see how many people are coming to your website.  This will encompass overall marketing efforts (search engine optimization, pay-per-click, online marketing, tradeshows, events, offline marketing, etc.) and if they are bringing more eyes to your website or not.

3. Bounce Rate

This metric shows how many web visitors came to your website and immediately left.  This is a good analytic to monitor to see if the quality of traffic is good or not.  If web visitors are searching for a product/service you do not offer or if you do offer what they are looking for but your website does not do a good job of portraying that you offer that service/product users will immediately leave.  The lower this number becomes the better.

4. Time on Site

This is a good metric to watch as it shows the interest level of web visitors and if they are finding the information they are looking for.  If they are staying on your website for a long time they are most likely digesting useful information.  Although in some cases the opposite is true (users may be on the website for a long time because they are searching for information that they cannot find).  In general this is not the case as internet users have a very short attention span and generally leave a website if they cannot find what they are looking for.

5. Top Web Content

This report is useful in determining characteristics of your target audience (at least the ones making it to your website). You can find out what information they are looking for the most, where they are spending the most time reading, what webpages are more likely to encourage someone to contact you, etc.

6. Keywords

This report is more in-depth than the above reports but is useful because it will show you the top keywords people are finding your website on.  It will help you learn more about your web visitors by learning what keyword phrases they are using, what they are looking for,  and how they reference your products & services.  We can also filter out ‘Caption Call’ from the keyword list to find a better list of terms of people who are looking for what you offer but do not necessarily know about you yet.  We can also filter between paid and non-paid keywords.

7.  SEO Reports

This report will include a list of keywords we are targeting for SEO, their current ranking, the competition, what page and position they are on, and how the ranking changed vs. the previous month.   The report will include an index report showing you how many pages the search engines have indexed or recognized on your website.  The last component of this report is links, this report will show how many and what specific links Google and Yahoo recognize going to your homepage.

8.  PPC/SEM Reports

This report will include a list of keywords we are targeting for PPC with their current average cost per click, how many impressions they received, how many clicks they generated, and how many conversions resulted.  We will also include information for each target area and their respective statistics.